Rigby High School
Conference: 5A District 5-6 Conference
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Head Coach: Armando Gonzalez
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Previous Experience: Defensive Coordinator – San Juan Hills HS (So Cal) 2011-2016
Defensive Coordinator – Dana Hills HS (So Cal) 2005-2007
Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator – Dos Pueblos High School (So Cal) 2003-2004
Offensive Coordinator – LA Valley College (2002)
Wide Receivers Coach – Cal State Northridge (1997-2001)
Record Last Year: 4-6
State Titles: None
Burke Mouser – Asst. Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach
Brook Talbot – Defensive Coordinator
Jeff McKinlay – Running Backs Coach
Norm Taylor – Defensive Line Coach
Mike DaRonch – Linebackers Coach
Vic Martinez – Defensive Line Coach
Steve Godwin – Tight Ends Coach
Jeremy Livingston – Quarterbacks Coach
Blake Larson – Wide Receivers Coach
Bradley Hahn, RB, senior
Tanner Clayton, QB, senior
Austin Good, WR, senior
Robbie Larsen, WR, senior
Michael Kinsy, DB, senior
Braden Youngstrom, RB, senior
Trevor Orr, LB, senior
Nate Franz, OL/DL, junior
Tane Togiai, DL, senior
Sebastian Tafolla, OL, senior
Returning Players with Honors:
Braden Youngstrom – Second Team All-State RB, First Team All-Conference RB
Nate Franz – First Team All-Conference OL & DL
Austin Good – First Team All-Conference P
Trevor Orr – Second Team All-Conference LB
Bradley Hahn – Second Team All-Conference DB
Tanner Clayton – Honorable Mention All-Conference QB
Key Players lost from last year:
Chris Barber, OL
Easton Riley, OL
Braden Perrenoud, TE/DL
Camden Peterson, OL/DL
Photo By: Steve Conner - #1 Bradley Hahn
Incoming impact players:
Braden Erickson, TE/LB, senior
Ben Fullmer, WR, senior
Tui Tofa, RB/SS, junior
Written by: Matt Harris
There only seems to be one constant on earth. That constant is ‘change’.
One year after Rigby made the leap to Idaho’s largest classification and said goodbye to numerous players who moved on to college football, once again the Trojans are experiencing change.
Head coach Randy Waite, who was a leading figure in resurrecting Rigby’s football program from consistent doormat to perennial conference contender, accepted the head coaching job at Crater High School in Oregon in March. That led the Trojans on a nationwide search to find the next man to lead the program – one who could hopefully continue the on-field excellence that the Trojans have shown in the last four years.
The man that school administrators chose is no stranger to the sidelines – both in the high school and college ranks. The man they chose to pick up where Waite left off was Armando Gonzalez.
Gonzalez comes to Idaho from San Juan Hills High School in San Juan Capistrano, California, where he served as defensive coordinator. His previous stops include Dana Hills High School and Dos Pueblos High School, L.A. Valley College, and Cal State Northridge. Gonzalez served as head coach for two seasons at Dos Pueblos High School.
So far, Gonzalez likes what he sees from his team.
“The team has been committed to the process ever since I arrived in Rigby,” he said. “Summer workout attendance has been the best it has ever been and the players have done an excellent job learning the new offensive and defensive systems.”
The Trojans have a wealth of talent returning from last year’s team, which finished 4-6 overall with an appearance in the first round of the 5A state tournament. Quickly acclimating to the new offense and defense will be key for the Trojans early success.
“The skill positions are a strength for us at this point. There are a lot of players returning who played significant roles on the varsity as juniors,” Gonzalez said.
Back in the fold this year is senior quarterback Tanner Clayton, who really progressed as a signal caller throughout the season. Gonzalez called him a ‘talented player’ who will be counted on for leadership this year. Clayton threw for 1,278 yards last season and nine touchdowns with 19 interceptions. He will have to cut down on the turnovers if Rigby wants to take the next step.
Clayton will be joined in the backfield by senior All-State running back Braden Youngstrom and senior Bradley Hahn. Youngstrom racked up 1,292 rushing yards as a junior while scoring nine touchdowns while also catching 16 passes for 116 yards and three touchdowns. Hahn added 271 rushing yards with three touchdowns. Junior Tui Tofa will also see time at running back.
At wide receiver, look for senior Austin Good to have a big impact along with fellow seniors Robbie Larsen and Ben Fullmer. Good caught 42 passes for 553 yards and three touchdowns as a junior with Larsen snagging 10 passes for 111 yards. Senior Braden Erickson will step in to the tight end position this season, replacing Braden Perrenoud.
On the line, senior Sebastian Tafolla and junior Nate Franz will anchor the protection upfront as returning starters and be leaned on to provide guidance and leadership for the new starters.
“Our offensive line will be the biggest factor in our success,” Gonzalez said. “There are some key players returning in Nate and Sebastian and the new players who step in will have to learn quickly.” The coach added that if the offensive line can develop into a solid unit that they can be a very good team this season, calling it his X-factor.
Defensively, the Trojans will be loaded up front as Franz teams up with Tane Togiai, Tanoa Togiai, and Zhigy Falevai to disrupt opposing offenses. Senior Trevor Orr returns to lead the linebacking corps and will be joined by fellow senior Braden Erickson. The secondary will be lead by senior Michael Kinsy with Tofa playing a big role at strong safety. Gonzalez said that the secondary should be improved this year.
“We have a solid group of returners that should be able to help us there,” he said. Rigby gave up an average of 25.0 points per game in 2016.
The Trojans will have their first chance to see their new systems in action on Aug. 26 when the face the Douglas Tigers of Minden, Nevada in the Rocky Mountain Rumble. This will be the second straight year that Rigby will play in the Rumble, which is held at Holt Arena. The game will be video streamed on IdahoSports.com.
Following the Rumble, the maroon-clad squad will face defending 4A state champion Skyline on the road at Ravsten Stadium on Sept. 1. Rigby will then play three of their next four games at home when they host Kuna out of District 3 on Sept. 8, followed by another home date against Minico on Sept. 15. The Trojans then hit the road again on Sept. 22 when they face the Blackfoot Broncos before returning back to Rigby for a Sept. 29th date against their arch-rivals, the Madison Bobcats.
“Madison is our rival and the game last year was close. (Bobcats’) Coach Mitch Buck has built an excellent program and we want to be able to compete with them each year,” Gonzalez said. This game is also slate to be video streamed on IdahoSports.com.
The Trojans will then wrap up their season with two of three games on the road, first on Oct. 6 at Hillcrest and Oct. 20 at Bonneville, with an Oct. 13th matchup against the Highland Rams at home sandwiched in the middle.
Gonzalez’ crew will certainly be challenged once again in the competitive High Country Conference.
“The conference is strong and it will be a challenge competing with teams like Highland and Madison,” he said. “They set a high standard for the rest of the conference.” He added that Highland is the likely front-runner.
Thus far into his tenure as Rigby’s head coach, Gonzalez has tried to instill into his players a daily commitment to excellence. This will not only pay dividends this season, but down the road in future seasons as they try to build up the program on the foundation that Randy Waite laid during the last four seasons.
“Our theme is ‘STA’, which means ‘Sharpen The Axe’. We want to be committed to the process of becoming great each day,” he said. “You cannot chop down a tree with a dull axe.”
Let the sharpening begin.